Proverbs 6:16 says, “The Lord hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to Him”. Here the author uses a device known as a “numerical ladder” in which the point is to show that this is not an exhaustive list. In essence, he is saying, “Here are six things God hates, no, I could keep going, here’s a seventh thing, and this list could continue on!”
Hate is a strong word. In fact, most of us have been taught to avoid using the word. Does God really hate certain things? Look closely at this list, and the other verses in your devotion (Pr 10:29, 11:1, 17:15, 21:27, 28:9), and you will see that God hates actions and attitudes that do not line up with his character. In our main text, Proverbs 6:16-19, we are given a list of seven things God hates. The purpose of a list like this (and other statements about what God hates) is to help us understand the character and nature of God, especially in those areas where we often get it wrong. To aid us in understanding what this list communicates to us about God, it can be helpful to consider the converse of each point.
|Things God Hates||Things God Loves|
|deceptive speech||truthful speech|
|killing innocent people||preservation of life|
|hearts that plot evil||pure thoughts|
|enthusiastic involvement in activities that harm others||eagerness to do good things|
|false witness||honest witness|
If we want to be like God, we must learn both to love what he loves and hate what he hates. To love peaceful harmony is not enough. I will use the analogy of an Olympic athlete to illustrate my point. To become an Olympic champion, it is not enough to simply do all the things that Olympic champions do. I could swim every day, eat healthy food, and generally repeat all the behaviors I see champion swimmers do, but that will not make me like them. I can eat as much healthy food as I should, but if I supplement it with milkshakes and donuts, I am not gaining the full benefits of a healthy diet. Doing what champion swimmers do is not enough, I must also stay away from the things champion swimmers stay away from.
Proverbs could have simply said, “Here is what God loves, do this!” Instead, we learn more about the character of God and the expectations of righteousness, along with the condition of our hearts, when it puts it this way: “Here is what the human heart naturally wants to do, but if you want to be like God, you must resist these behaviors and attitudes!” We are encouraged to destroy the areas in our own hearts where we desire things contrary to who God is, to hate what he hates.
My prayer for you today is that God would reveal the areas in your heart where you love what you should hate, and that you would ask him to transform your heart to more closely align with his.
The Seven Hatreds of God – W.W. Thompson